A Florida Chili’s restaurant worker was badly burned after falling into a vat of scalding hot water and now the restaurant faces more than $62,000 in penalties for workplace safety violations that may have contributed to the accident.
According to documents published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), on Oct. 2, 2018, an employee of a Miami-area Chili’s restaurant was working on an elevated platform above a Frymaser Rethermalizer full of 185-degree water. The appliance is an industrial kitchen machine used to heat frozen and chilled pre-packaged foods.
OSHA doesn’t describe the employee’s injuries in detail, but it’s likely the accident resulted in second-degree burns or worse. According to the Burn Foundation, just one second in 156-degree water is enough to cause third-degree burns.
In the notification of penalty it sent to Brinker Florida Inc. (dba Chili’s Grill & Bar), OSHA notes that the elevated platform the worker fell from did not have a protective guardrail or other type of fall prevention system even when it was situated above the uncovered Frymaster Rethermalizer.
The restaurant’s lack of fall prevention and equipment guarding were among the eight serious safety violations OSHA investigators found at the Doral Chili’s. The agency also cited the company for aluminum ladders that were “in need of deep cleaning to remove grease/debris build up which made [them] slippery and a hazard for employees …”
OSHA also penalized the company for failure to train employees in the proper handling of potentially hazardous chemicals, noting investigators observed one employee using Grease Express Fast Foam, a corrosive cleaning agent containing sodium hydroxide, without gloves or face and eye protection.
Total penalties for the violations assessed by OSHA amounted to $62,415.